Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

Stephen Angliss | October 19, 2016


Jesus just isn’t what he used to be.

At least, not among Christians in our country. The identity of Jesus in American Christianity largely depends on who you ask. While many can rattle off orthodox statements heard from the pulpit about who Christ is, the role and personality American evangelicals project onto Jesus is varied. They find bits and pieces about Jesus they like, discard those they dislike, and fashion their own “Jesus.” This Jesus tends to be whichever Christ is safe, convenient, and helpful for the individual’s life in the moment.

Here are four of the most popular versions of Jesus found in American churches. 

1. Heirloom Jesus

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Heirloom Jesus is doubtless the shallowest and, sadly, most common Jesus found in America. This Jesus was treasured by great-grandma and has been passed down generation by generation, but with increasingly less value. He might bring back great memories of times and persons gone by, but he’s no longer of practical use to the family. Heirloom Jesus is merely kept out of duty—like an old figurine on a dusty shelf.

As a beloved figurine might be considered “part of the family,” so too is this Jesus. Those who’ve inherited him have no problem calling themselves “Christian,” because the name…


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